Why you don’t want biomass!
Posted by Gordon Traill on 11 December 2008 at 9:51 am
Well this is my first attempt at writing a blog, so please be patient and don’t expect too high a standard. To start with I find the term ‘expert’ slightly inappropriate. However, as I’ve been involved with TRECO from its inception I have become aware of many pitfalls which can be avoided, most of which we have indeed fallen into at some time.
Biomass technology can be either very simple (an open fire) or very sophisticated, typically Austrian or German wood pellet or chip boilers.
The irony is that despite being a part of the biomass industry I believe that for most people the technology we offer is not appropriate, and it is not unusual for us to recommend alternative technologies which we do not supply, or indeed simple but less glamorous solutions such as insulation and double glazing.
In the UK new houses are smaller than those being built in any other European country, and this presents a problem for biomass heating. Most machines, however modern and compact, require more space than a fossil fuel equivalent. Couple that with the lower heat load that smaller houses need and it’s easy to see why the payback on a modern biomass boiler is too long.
However, for new developments, where a number of flats or houses are being built, district heating systems using biomass as the heat source are ideal. The heat is distributed to the individual houses via a heat main with each individual property metered and charged for the heat they use.
For older houses where the heat load is much greater; for commercial; for any individual or business producing wood waste (or indeed other biomass waste such as agricultural by-products) the technology becomes compelling.
So biomass is one part of the renewable mix. Literally millions of tonnes are wasted each year, either to landfill (recycled timber), ploughed back into the soil (rape and cereal straw) or chipped and left to rot beside our roads. Biomass has a significant role to play in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Each tonne of dry wood burned efficiently reduces CO2 emissions by approximately a tonne. The challenge is to use this resourse in the most appropriate way.
Over the last few years I have met many interesting passionate people working within the industry, and I hope that I can persuade them to contribute their views to this blog, even if they are completely opposed to mine! Let’s see where this leads…
More information about Biomass Boilers on YouGen.
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